While the whole RRoD (Red Ring of Death) scare has now been quelled, with new stories drastically lower than a mere year ago, some would think that the problem is gone and that Xbox 360 users are safe to venture into the world of non-stop gaming filled with Red Bull full nights and bed ridden days. If you were the owner of an the older “First Gen” 360 units, you may be all too familiar with the 90 nm chips that were inside those units. It was that size that led to high number of RRoD (Red Ring of Death) issues that were caused by over heating problems inside the unit. The newer “2nd Gen” units use a smaller, more heat friendly 65 nm chip which is much more resiliant to the stresses and turmoils of long hours of Xbox 360 gaming. Even though units sent in for repair were being given a second lease on life, exactly how long does that least last? Take note: Second lease on life lasts approximately 1 year…
If you were unfortunate enough to have had to have gone through the process of shipping your crippled Xbox 360 back to home base for the month long surgery, you know just how slow a month can pass, not to mention how much it sucks when products get rushed to market before being given the official seal of approval. My brother and I found out first hand a whole year ago just what the RRoD could do to our units, our time together, and our lives. Six weeks after shipping out Xbox 360 unit off to ‘ol Redmond, it returned, gracing our front step, begging us from inside the box to rip it open and flog it for hours on end – and flog we have for the 393 days since being reunited with our digital savior.
However, not all stories have a happy ending. This is one of those stories. After a short 5 minute gaming session this past Friday June 5, 2009, our beloved *now refurbished* Xbox 360 was once again claimed by the almighty RRoD. In our state of denial and disbelief that this could happen a second time, full of anger, sadness, frustration, *insert deep emotion of choice here*, we set out across the wild world of the web to find what we hoped would be a sign saying that it “wasn’t that bad.” But, in reality, it was bad…very bad. The RRoD had indeed claimed our unit a second time. What do do?
Because it was a friday evening and we needed a working Box then and now, we set out for a quick fix. The quick fix of choice: The Towel Trick. While I was skeptical at first, I have to admit I am now a believer.
**Disclaimer** Performing the Towel trick will void your warranty (if they should find out…even though this whole problem shouldn’t be happening in the first place) ….perform at your own risk.
Towel Trick: Disconnect hard drive, wireless reciever, and all cords (except power cord). Turn the unit on so that you see the dreaded RRoD and proceed to smother your unit in synthetic fabric (towels, blankets, etc.). After a nail biting 30-45 minutes, take off the layers of synthetic materials and switch the unit off. Let it sit for 25-35 minutes. After a cool down period, hook everything back up and turn it back on. It should work again – albiet a few short days at most, at which point you have to redue the process all over again. Of course, this is just a quick fix meant to get your through that planned gaming party this weekend. Otherwise: SHIP IT IN!
After our Box spent a cozy 45 minutes wrapped in several layers of towels, the unit was blowing heat hot as Satan’s breath with a fan moving fast enough it seemed that it could lift a beached whale off of……the beach. Two days later I’m proud to say it still works. However, bright and early Monday morning our Xbox will be sent off once again, except this time I’m hoping it comes back with more than just a band-aid over a lost limb.
While Microsoft did the right thing and extended Xbox warranties covering problems such as the RRoD to 3 years, this problem never should have happened in the first place. And while we were content and pleased with our unit after receiving it back from open heart surgery, having to go through this pain in the a** process a second time now sheds a whole new light on the situation. What didn’t they do right on the repeat visit to require a third stay at the Xbox HQ? I seriously think their quality department is asleep on the job….(do they even have one anymore)? While the RRoD incidents on newer units with the 65 nm chips is much less, I still feel this sort of problem shouldn’t be happening at all. They’ve had plenty of time to redo the innards of the 360 to come up with a feasible solution. What’s Microsoft’s deal? How many of you have seen the RRoD once? Twice? Three or more times? (God save your soul and sanity)
Source: Me and my smaller version…Me Jr.